One of the defining aspects of my likes and dislikes, which most people pick up on quite quickly, is my love of Starbucks. Now what usually happens is this often automatically leads to the Costa army rising up, and an hilarious battle of Starbucks V’s Costa commences!
It’s like people think that because I love Starbucks, that obviously means I hate Costa. I don’t hate Costa, I don’t enjoy their coffee as much as I enjoy Starbucks, but I can usually find something I enjoy when I am forced/dragged in to a Costa (their tiramisu hot chocolate, for example, was actually reeeaaally nice!!).
It becomes this “thing” that because I love my local Starbucks, the gauntlet is laid down, and the opposition has to rise up and defend their favourite! Defend it!! Like it’s a poor defenseless business who is being targetted and attacked by my choosing to support Starbucks instead of Costa. Like it is so amazingly wonderful that Starbucks is trampling all over it, just because I mention I happen to prefer it!
Which reminds me of the Israel : Palestine conflict!
Those of us who support Israel are often shot down and told about the “error” of our decision, by those who support Palestine. It’s like I am targetted as being completely against the people of Palestine, just because of my support for Israel, as God’s chosen land, and His people as the people I am descended from, whom I firmly believe God has not yet finished with, and continues to call them His Chosen People!
I believe that Israel of the Bible is the same Israel of the Land today; and I firmly believe that Israel is the only nation about whom the Bible declares,
For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, “Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; he will turn away ungodliness from Ya‘akov and this will be my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” With respect to the Good News they are hated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs’ sake, for God’s free gifts and his calling are irrevocable. Just as you yourselves were disobedient to God before but have received mercy now because of Isra’el’s disobedience; so also Isra’el has been disobedient now, so that by your showing them the same mercy that God has shown you, they too may now receive God’s mercy. Romans 11:25-31 (Bold emphasis is mine)
we can’t argue with the Word of God, even if we don’t like it, or it doesn’t make sense to us. God called Israel, His call and gifts cannot be revoked – therefore if I am going to believe in a faithful, promise-keeping God, I have to believe that He hasn’t just done away with the nation He chose for Himself! Fact of life!
But, contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that I hate the people of Palestine! People need Jesus whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Pagan or whatever – and I am all for people! Supporting Israel doesn’t mean I don’t care about other people groups. It doesn’t mean I am part of the political system, some of the anti-Israel brigade rant and rave against! It means that I know God hasn’t finished with Israel, and the people and the nation are strategic in relation to God’s end time plan.
It means I want the nation of Israel to be introduced to, meet and fall in love with their Messiah, as much as I have. It means I want them to know the Prince of Peace for themselves. Supporting Israel doesn’t automatically make me a hater of Palestine. What I hate is watching videos of Palestinian fathers practically throwing their young children at Israeli soldiers with cameras rolling in order to frame Israel. What I hate is hearing about my dad having rocks thrown at his car, and attempts made to steal his belongings just because he wandered into an Arab area on his first trip to Israel. What I hate is seeing Arab men picking up rocks and throwing them over the fence to the Jewish people walking through the Jewish Cemetery outside Jerusalem’s Old Wall. What I hate is seeing the propaganda which says Israel is the persecutor against the poor people of Palestine. Because this is not the case. This is not the full story.
So, by all means, stand up for what you believe, we are called to demonstrate God’s love and justice to the world around us. But don’t assume that loving one means hating the other. People are people. Coffee is coffee. There is good and there is bad in both.